Archive for November 2011

Discover the flavours, aromas and sensations of wine

November 25, 2011

When you drink or taste wine, your taste buds and your sense of smell are involved, adding to the way you interpret wine overall. The flavours, aromas and sensations that wine is comprised of provide the interaction that you taste when you sample wine.

Sweetness is something that wines are well known for. With most types of wine, grapes are responsible for the sweet taste. Grapes contain a lot of sugar, which breaks the yeast down into alcohol. The grapes and yeast that were used to produce the wine will leave behind various sugars, which your tongue will be able to quickly detect. Once your tongue detects these various sugars, the stimulation of sweetness from the wine will be ever so present in your mouth.

Alcohol is also present in wine, although your tongue does not really know how to decipher the taste of alcohol. Even though the tongue does not really taste alcohol, the alcohol is present in the mouth. The alcohol found in wine will dilate blood vessels and therefore intensify all of the other flavours found in the wine. After you have samples a few types of wine, the alcohol level can easily have an effect on your taste buds, making it hard to distinguish other drinks that you may have.

Another flavour is acidity, which will effect the sugars. With the proper balance of acidity, the overall flavour of wine can be very overwhelming. Once you taste wine that contains it, the flavour of the acidity will be well known to your tongue. Although acidity is great with wine, too much of it will leave a very sharp taste. With the right levels, acidity will bring the flavours of the grape and fruits alive in your mouth – providing you with the perfect taste.

Yet another effect of flavour are tannins, which are the proteins found in the skins of grapes and other fruits. If a wine has the right amount of tannins, it will give your tongue a great feel, and bring in the sensations of the other flavours . Once a wine starts to age, the tannins will begin to breakdown in the bottle, giving you a softer feel to the taste. Tannins are essential for the taste of wine – providing the wine has been properly aged.

The last flavour associated with wine is oak. Although oak is not put into the wine during the manufacturing process, it is actually transferred during the ageing process, as most wines will spend quite a bit of time in oak barrels. Depending on how long the wine is left in the oak barrel or cask, the ability to extract the flavour will vary. Most often times, wine will be aged just enough to where the oak taste is visibly there – and adds the perfect sentiment to the taste.

Although there are other flavours involved with the taste of wine, they are not as present as those listed above. The above flavours are the most present in wine, and also the flavours that you need to get more familiar with. Before you try to taste wine or distinguish flavours, you should always learn as much you can about the components responsible for the flavours. This way you will know more about what you are tasting and you will truly be able to appreciate wine.



Buying older Alto vintages

November 23, 2011

Want to buy older Alto vintages?

Visit the Bergkelder Vinoteque’s site to see what the have in stock

Stand a chance to win a Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2012

November 17, 2011

WIN a Platter’s South Africa Wine Guide 2012

We are running a great competition on our Facebook page where you can stand a chance to win a Platter’s South African Wine Guide 2012 as well as an Alto hamper.

To enter visit our Facebook page .

Tips and guidelines on ‘Training your wine palate’

November 8, 2011

Training your wine palate is not just for professional wine tasters and connoisseurs. In fact, all wine drinkers are training their palates everyday just by experiencing different tastes. A trained wine palate simply means that you can recognize the various flavours that you taste in the wines you consume. The more flavours you can successfully identify, the more trained your palate has become. Ultimately your experience with taste is your wine tasting guide.


1.Search the Internet or other resources to obtain a list of flavours common to wine such as black pepper, blackberries, apricots and oak. Write these flavours down in your wine journal.

2.Seek out and purchase a small quantity of each item from your list. Many of the items may be purchased at your local grocery store or specialty mart; however, others may require a trip to a nursery, hardware store or other less conventional store.

3.Taste and smell each of the items you have purchased. Try to recall wines you have previously tasted, which may have had hints or notes of the flavour you are tasting.

4.Repeat this process, adding new items occasionally. This will allow your palate to solidify these tastes.

5.Continue to drink a variety of wine types including wines from different regions and countries. This will allow you numerous opportunities to test your palate against a multitude of flavours.

6.Verbalize your thoughts as you drink different wines. By verbalizing thoughts through dialogue, you may gain further understanding of what you are tasting. You may also record your thoughts in your wine journal.